The leader of the county council has asked for reassurance there will not be a healthcare crisis this Christmas, as medics work through another challenging winter.
Last week Bucks County Council’s (BCC) health and wellbeing board were updated on winter plans for healthcare in the area, as demand for services increases.
However leader of BCC and chairman of the board, Martin Tett, said although similar plans are produced every year, Bucks healthcare services still fall into crisis as staff struggle to cope with demand.
He said: “There have been similar presentations by colleagues and predecessors of yours that have reassured us ‘don’t’ worry, everything is going to be fine this winter’, and every winter we have a crisis.
“What can you say to reassure members of this health and wellbeing board, and more importantly the public watching, that actually this year will be different and this year we won’t have a repetition of the problems we have had in previous years?”
In October it was warned England could face its worst winter in recent history if extra cash is not ploughed into the NHS for more staff and beds.
It was later revealed that BCC would receive a boost of £1.67 million for adult social care to help ease pressure on the NHS.
Director of clinical commissioning and delivery at Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group (Bucks CCG), Debbie Richards, said preparations have been “greater and more focused” than ever before.
She warned there will still be “spikes and peaks” in pressures on services throughout the winter, however “robust” plans are in place to deal with increased demand.
Ms Richards said: “What we can say is as a system we have done greater, more focused planning than we have ever done before, but the system will still be challenged.
“There will be times when we will see spikes and peaks in pressure on the system, and we have now got robust plans for working together to respond to those plans.
“We can’t smooth out activity, there will always be spikes and pressures, and it is fair to say this winter to date we have seen a number of occasions where the number of people attending services has been greater than in any previous year.
“What is clear locally, and NHS improvement have fed this back to us, is we do respond well in times of pressure, we do respond well as a partnership, and we do bounce back.”
Health bosses are working to reduce the number of visits to A&E and hospital admissions over winter months by encouraging as many people as possible to receive the flu vaccine and advising people to visit a pharmacist as soon as they feel unwell.